Administrators and the Responsible Conduct of Research
Collaborative Research:
Business/Financial Issues

Business and Financial Issues Covered in Agreements

Collaborations frequently have business or financial issues associated with them. The value of written agreements is that these issues are addressed and agreed upon at the beginning of the formal collaboration. That is not to say that disagreements or disputes cannot arise, but at least with written agreements the parties have an objective basis upon which to resolve them.

Subaward: This agreement sets forth the work to be done, the budget for the work, what costs are allowable and unallowable, how payments are to be made, what financial and research-related reports are to be submitted, and, if disputes should arise, the methods by which they are to be resolved.

Consulting Agreement: A collaboration may be formalized through a consulting agreement, although consulting agreements are not typically compatible with collaborations as we think of them. In a consulting agreement, the individual being hired is working under the direction of the other "collaborator." Payments are made only upon satisfactory completion of a well-defined scope of work. In addition, the consultant agrees to be engaged on a "work for hire"Work-for-hire
Works created within the scope of one's employment, or works commissioned or contracted by which the creator retains no rights to the works.
basis – that is to say, the consultant has no rights at all to the work performed, the data or information collected or developed, or any intellectual property of any kind.

Facility Use Agreement: This agreement contains the charges associated with one collaborator using the facilities and equipment at another collaborator’s institution. These charges are developed on the basis of cost studies, and the same rates should be charged to all users. It is inappropriate for a collaborator to be given discounted rates, or allowed to use facilities at no cost when others are charged the standard rate, unless this is part of a formal agreement that clearly provides for the parties sharing these costs. It is also inappropriate to charge facility use fees without regard to the actual cost of operating the facility.

MTA: This agreement generally contains provisions concerning liability resulting from the use of the material being transferred. Liability issues are discussed in more detail below. The collaborator providing the material may also include cost issues such as the payment of shipping and handling costs involved in providing the material, as well as the requirement for return of leftover materials that may exist when the MTA expires. Sometimes, the collaborator providing the material may also charge a fee for access to the material. There are no rules or regulations governing the charging of fees. One should, however, be cautious in charging fees, since they may create resentment if they are viewed as excessive, or if they prevent access to materials that are needed or would facilitate the collaboration.

back to the previous page next page